From the Editor-in-Chief’s desk: Your June 12 briefing


Bula vinaka all.

Again it’s another one of those cool nights here in the Capital City of Suva. It was a fine sunny day today though, and like yesterday, the temperature dropped towards the evening. After a very long time, my mind drifted back to those busy Friday nights that greeted us as we came out of the newsroom, considering we are smack bang right beside a line of nightspots that were quite popular.

Anyway, tonight, the Department of Information announced 51 new cases.

It said 48 of the new cases are linked to the following existing clusters: CWMH – 6; Nawaka, Nadi – 35; Vunimono – 2; IMT – 4; and Waila – 1.

One of the new cases is noted to be a primary contact of another case, and the connection to a cluster is being determined by contact tracing teams.

It said two of the new cases are from Raiwai and Nakasi and are under investigation to determine whether they have links to other cases.

An individual who was admitted in the CWM Hospital’s Acute Medical Ward and then tested positive for COVID-19, it said, has died. His doctors have determined that he died due to complications of the serious medical condition that led him to his admission in hospital.

Here are some stats:

  • 22 patients have recovered;
  • 684 active cases in isolation; and
  • There have been 900 cases during the current outbreak that started in April, 2021.

Given the incubation period, surely we can expect more cases.

If this concerns you, then please stay home! Adhere to COVID-19 safety advice and let’s fight this together Fiji!

The Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, delivered a speech tonight as well.

You can read about this on

Here are some stories that made the headlines in The Fiji Times’ edition for Saturday, June 12.


Obviously on the front page, we have a report on tonight’s numbers.

‘Mandatory vaccination’

REPORTS that some companies are requiring ‘mandatory’ COVID-19 vaccination has spurred debate on social media on an individual’s right to choose. And 14 days after The Fiji Times asked the office of the Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission to take a position on the issue, nothing has been forthcoming.

Pandemic brings out the best

THE COVID-19 outbreak and the hardships families are going through have brought out the best in Fijians.


Contracting virus

A PERSON who has recovered from the COVID-19 virus can contract it a second time, says World Health Organization (WHO) public health specialist Dr Temo Waqanivalu.

No civil servants forced to vaccinate

A military officer assisting members of the public at the Cunningham vaccination site in Suva. Picture: SOPHIE RALULU/FILE

NO civil servant or any individual can be forced to be vaccinated, says Health Minster Dr Ifereimi Waqainabete.


FRCS staff face termination

FIJI Revenue and Customs Service (FRCS) staff have been informed they will face termination if they don’t get the COVID-19 vaccine. Acting CEO Jonetani Vuto said this in a correspondence sent out to all employees on Thursday.

Rights of employees

THE rights of employees who choose not to be vaccinated have to be balanced against the rights of those they share the same space with and the legal obligations of the employer, says the Fiji Law Society.



It’s the weekend, and we have another bumper section of letters to the editor. You can feel the pulse of the nation, and read about what people are interested in as writers cover various topics over seven pages – PAGES 8, 9, 19, 20, 21, 22 and 23.


As usual for your weekend reading pleasure, we have a line-up of writers raising interesting topics. We hope you enjoy this popular section of the weekend edition.

Let’s hear it for the auditors – By Richard Naidu

The Fijian Parliament in session on May 27, 2021. Picture: PARLIAMENT OF FIJI

Earlier this week Parliament ended what history should remember as one of its more bizarre sittings. A growing pandemic enveloped Viti Levu. Tens of thousands of people wondered how they would get their families through “containments” and the suspension of their work and small business. But the Government’s agenda for Parliament seemed to say “coronavirus? What coronavirus?” Hour upon hour of time was spent talking about outdated annual reports.

Giving thanks, but what follows? – By Professor Wadan Naysey

With most of Fiji suffering from the COVID-19 crisis in large measure because of the insensitivity of a few holding power, thousands of ordinary citizens are giving thanks to the many social leaders who have publicly stepped up to shoulder the burdens of leadership.

To lockdown or not to lockdown – By Viliame Gavoka

The April outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in Fiji was not handled with the urgent crisis management necessary to stop the virus from spreading beyond the breach at the quarantine facility in Nadi. As a result, we now have an alarming number of cases every day and yet Government has not adopted a more vigorous strategy to stop the spread of this virus.

USP saga – By Prof Brij Lal

USP’s Suva campus. Picture: FT FILE

IN early February 2021, the Fijian Government summarily revoked USP vice-chancellor Prof Pal Ahluwalia’s work permit and deported him and his wife Sandra Price for allegedly breaching some as yet unspecified breaches of the Fiji Immigration Act. Fiji’s heavy-handed unilateral decision caused consternation among the twelve member countries of the Pacific region who collectively ‘own’ the regional university, claiming correctly that the business of hiring and firing the head of the regional organisation was the prerogative of the University Council, not of any one member of it.

Red alert – By Ajay Bhai Amrit

BULA readers! It is with great sadness that I write this week’s article as we fall further into the clutches of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Be a warrior – By Colin Deoki

“In 1983, a song became something of an anthem about how a guy should treat a girl. “Tell Her About it” was written by Billy Joel from his highly acclaimed album, “Innocent Man”!  The foot-tapping Motown groove was a tribute to his soul mate, Christie Brinkley. Joel and Brinkley would marry in 1985. But in 1994 their marriage ended. No matter how much love and respect people have for each other, sometimes even a good relationship can start falling apart.

Challenges in pharmacy – By Avneet Nand

The inside of a pharmacy in Suva. Picture: FT FILE

Have you ever gone to your local pharmacy to drop off a prescription and were given a 10- 15 minute wait, maybe a token with a number on it while you wait to be called?  You’ve probably wondered why they’re even necessary – especially if what you’re there for already comes packaged and doesn’t need to be counted out like a bottle of pills.

Paradigm shift – By Vishnu D Sharma

Education in Fiji has always been everyone’s priority ever since its introduction. The Government has taken lead role by investing millions of dollars every year to ensure that all school age children are provided quality education.

Say no to child labour – By Matin Karimli, Sheldon Yett

An underaged boy provides wheelbarrow services at the Laqere Market in Nasinu.

Child labour remains a persistent problem in the world today, including in the Pacific Islands, jeopardising children’s future.

Age of digital health –  By Ilaitia B. Tuisawau

IF you haven’t already heard, the age of digital health is upon us. And for healthcare providers, patients and consumers, it’s about time.

Back in Time –  By John Kamea

“I WISH to bid goodbye to life within prison walls.” That was the promise made by 26-year-old Epeli Etuatai, of Lami, a regular inmate of Suva Prison in the 1960s. When he was released on Friday, August 1, 1969, he said it was going to be his last.

Staying connected – By Rajnesh Lingam

Villagers of Naitasiri waiting at the Sawani containment border. Picture: VILIAME RAVAI/FILE

THE side effects of the coronavirus pandemic will leave many memories, stories and hardship that will be talked about in years to come. Fiji has experienced a pandemic that had a devastating impact on our economy, on families and individuals, and primarily on the education, agriculture and health system.

Citizen Joe and the boom – By Dr Sushil K Sharma

Mahendra Chaudhry, our first Indo-Fijian former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Fiji, I personally thought gave one of the greatest economic lessons and counter-punched the arguments, lately given to us by our good friend, the present Minister of Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, about the “great pie debate” (FT 5/6/21).



In entertainment and Motoring, you can read about what’s happening on the entertainment circuit, and also turn to the Moroting pages for some interesting reports.


The big on the back page is about Semi Radradra and the Olympic Games 7s campaign.


There’s more to read inside, but you’ll have to get a copy to know what we are talking about!


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